Here's another Fan's Guide excerpt, this one from Ron Morris's piece on ACC expansion. EnjoyÂ - it'll be here soon!
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If you are lucky, and old enough, you grew up in an era when there was much symmetry to college athletics, particularly when it came to conference alignments. The leagues made sense geographically, academically and athletically.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, for example, was a perfect set of eight schools. The Big Four North Carolina schools of Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest formed the leagueâs inner-belly. Maryland and Virginia resided to the north, and Clemson and South Carolina to the south. College Park to Columbia is just under 500 miles and about an eight-hour drive.
For me, growing up in Wyoming, there was no more perfect alignment than that of the Western Athletic Conference. Arizona and Arizona State were paired geographically, as were New Mexico and Texas Western, Utah and Brigham Young, and Colorado State and Wyoming.
The same kind of balance and sensibility existed within most conferences such as the Big Ten, Southwest, Southeastern and what was then called the Pacific-8. If you followed college athletics, even casually, you had a general understanding of what schools were members of what conferences.
Then TV arrived, or at least widespread television coverage of college athletics.
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